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Everything You Need to Know About Drug Detoxification

Drug and alcohol addiction can prove deadly, especially if one is addicted to opioids. However, drug detoxification offers much hope. It is carried out at the hospital after the substance is identified through rapid testing for the content of the alcohol and narcotic substances in the blood which poison the body. It is necessary for whichever treatment one chooses. There are various detox methods available such as extracorporeal purification (hemosorption, plasmapheresis), infusion solutions, and medications.  

When it comes to detoxing the body from drugs and alcohol, withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur. As the substances leave the body, it can be difficult to cope. It takes about a week up to a few months for the entire process to complete depending on the severity of your condition. Even though alcohol would leave the body within a few days, the cravings would stay for longer. The following factors influence the time period required for the detox.

  • If multiple substances were abused
  • Which substance had been abused
  • How much of the substance had the user taken
  • How often did the user abuse the substance
  • The age of the user
  • The medical history of the user
  • The presence of underlying mental health conditions

The main function of the procedure is to completely detox the body of toxins and psychoactive substances formed by metabolic processes and for preventing withdrawal symptoms. Thus, the patient would be likely to develop a serious condition which would make it difficult to avoid drugs, alcohol, and psychoactive drugs. Besides the discomfort caused by the withdrawal, it would be accompanied with melancholy, depression, and anxiety. The functioning of internal organs and systems would also be affected by the dependence. Abstinence would lead to the following symptoms.

  • Changes in Heart Rate, Blood Pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Longing
  • Anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders, Vomiting, Abdominal Pain

· Cramps and Muscle Pain

The withdrawal symptoms would last for around 4 to 5 weeks without qualified medical care. There have been certain cases where people experienced dysfunction of the respiratory system and heart leading to death. The thing about any psychoactive substance is that it impacts all metabolic processes in the body. Thus, it takes a toll on the nervous system. As for self-withdrawal, the duration takes over a month.  

If you opt for detoxification from a reputable medical center, the duration of the treatment would be minimized. The medical expert would determine the type of procedure each patient should undergo.

Detoxification Methods

There are different types of detoxification methods that are available as mentioned below.

  • Mitigation of Acute Alcohol Disorders: To reduce anxiety and fear, infusion therapy along with sedatives, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants are carried out. It is crucial to enrich the body with liquid, potassium, and magnesium to eliminate the effects of dehydration. Vitamins are administered for normalizing sleep and restoring vitamin balance. Hepatoprotectors are also prescribed for restoring and protecting liver functioning and neurometabolic therapy for treating and preventing encephalopathy.
  • Ultrafast Opioid Detoxification (UFOD): It is carried out for up to 3 days. Opiate receptor blockers such as Naloxone and Naltrexone are administered to the anesthetized patient. The treatment eases disorders of the respiratory, cardiovascular, and autonomic nervous systems. The treatment is done under an anesthetist’s supervision at the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).
  • Pharmacological (Medication) Sleep: Pharmacological sleep or medication offers a safe but longer-lasting solution for dealing with opiate addiction. It encourages gentle recovery. During the artificial sleep, patients would experience withdrawal syndromes. Specialists would monitor all vital functions. Psycho-correction would be untaken once the patient awakes along with other procedures for restoring the body completely.
  • Body Detoxification: A combination of detoxification is administered consisting of psychotropic drugs, painkillers, sedatives, anticonvulsants, antispasmodics, antipsychotics. The doctor would also consider any concomitant diseases, sleep problems, damage to internal organs, and other disorders.

Contraindications of Intensive Detoxification

A comprehensive examination and diagnosis of the patient is a prerequisite. It would include the following.

  • Urine and blood chemistry
  • Common urine analysis and complete blood count
  • Urine and blood tests for drugs
  • Fluoroscopy of the lungs
  • ECG (Electrocardiogram)
  • Tests for checking the presence of specific markers like hepatitis, HIV, and other infections in the blood
  • Ultrasound of abdominal organs
  • Examination by a psychiatrist and general practitioner

Detoxification Would Be Delayed In the Following Cases

  • Anemia (Low Hemoglobin Levels)
  • Acute Infectious Processes
  • Vascular Pathologies Like Thrombosis
  • Stroke

If any contraindications are diagnosed, they would first need to be eliminated. Only when the condition of the patient is improved would the detoxification be possible. The professional would conduct a re-examination to determine if the patient can proceed with the treatment.

What to Look For In a Medical Center?

Before you a medical center for drug detoxification, you should look for the following.

  • All stages of examination need to be covered, including the tests and diagnosis.
  • Only when a comprehensive examination of the medical opinion and the patient’s needs have been evaluated should the detoxification be conducted. The medical center should prepare a unique treatment plan based on the current condition of the patient.
  • The procedure should aim to ensure complete cleaning of the body from psychotropic and toxic drugs at the ICU under supervision.
  • All measures should be taken by the doctors to avoid mental disorders, soreness, discomfort, and feeling of sickness which are common during withdrawal.
  • Only original medications should be used for the detox. International protocols must be followed. The ICUs should be fully equipped and a comfortable environment must be provided to patients for complete recovery.
  • The doctors at the medical center must have received special training and possess a license and certificate.
  • Psychotherapy and recovery options should also be provided to ensure the second stage of the detox is successful.

There is no reason for you to put your life on hold. Hence, you must make the decision of undergoing drug detoxification now.

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